Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tote Bags: Organizing Tools or Just More Clutter?

Little Prince canvas tote bag
Little Prince tote bag by Anchor Comics; details below

It’s easy to accumulate too many tote bags, as Jason Pinter noted on Twitter: “I’ve received approximately 842,000 tote bags from conferences over the years.” And too many tote bags are just clutter.

But tote bags, when kept to a reasonable number, can also be useful decluttering and organizing tools. I use tote bags in my organizing work; they help with decluttering when they’re used for things like hauling books to the used bookstore.

Karina Glaser uses tote bags as part of her system for organizing books in a household that includes two parents, two kids, and six library cards. (Karina's whole post, over on Book Riot, is delightful. Thanks to Liz Jenkins for the pointer.)
My daughters are so lucky to have great libraries in their schools, and I’m lucky too because as a parent I can check out up to ten books at a time. These books go into a tote bag next to our living room bookshelf.

... I’m not even going to go into my book return procedure, which involves tote bags in various styles for the different institutions we need to return them to.
Totes are also good for arts and crafts, as Mickie Mueller notes. (Go read her whole post on 7 ways to use a tote bag.)
Craft Tote: When working on various projects, I sometimes run to my daughter’s house, and sometimes she brings projects to my house, we love tote bags for the convenience of being able to fit any size or shaped craft supplies right in there. ...

Art Tote: Speaking of projects, being an artist, I can carry a small piece of art, sketch book, pencil sharpener, and a great big pencil bag in one of my totes, great if I want to catch up on an art deadline if things are slow at the office or I’m vending at a fair. I love to carry my art supplies in a tote with an inspiring design.
Even though I have plenty of tote bags, some especially wonderful ones still catch my eye. I’m enchanted with the Little Prince tote bag at the top of this post, with art by Sean Gregory Miller.

Cat Lady for Life canvas tote bag

And I’m also very fond of this cat lady tote bag by Emily McDowell. [via Hauspanther]

Related posts:
Decluttering and Organizing the Tote Bag Collection
Two Tips for Managing the Tote Bags


Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

Tote bags make great "go-bags"

It's good to have a few extras around when you have kids because you can give each kid a tote bag to go to the park for a picnic or to take home a set of muddy shoes.

I prefer tote bags that are machine washable for just that reason!

Nacho Eguiarte said...

I love tote bags for shopping that way I avoid getting too many plastics bags at the grocery store or the pharmacy. But like anything else, we need to keep those in control. Thank you for your post.

Anonymous said...

tool or clutter? I must reply - Yes. :-)

I have totes for groceries and that's cut down the inflow of plastic bags greatly. My only gripe on that is I keep getting checkers who can't figure out to put the cold stuff in the insulated bags when it's 90 degrees out. I also keep one for taking books and magazines to the reseller. When it's half full, in it goes.

However, when my "could be useful someday" kicks in, they are definitely clutter.